A Brick by Any Other Name — Mastering Matzo Farfel Kugel for Passover

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As much as I love noodle kugel, for Passover, matzo farfel kugel is a perfect side dish. If you like a kugel with a touch of sweetness, you’ll love the apples, cinnamon and sugar in this recipe. Find more of my Passover tips here and more matzo recipes here!

Kugel is a Yiddish term referring to a sweet or savory pudding usually prepared with noodles or potatoes. Kugels are very common side dishes at many Jewish holiday celebrations. On Passover, when we traditionally remove all products made with flour from our diet, other than unleavened matzo, matzo farfel kugel often finds its way to the table instead of a noodle or potato-based kugel.

Matzo farfel kugel photo showing rolling pin and matzo boards being made into matzo farfel

So easy to make your own matzo farfel!

What is Matzo Farfel Kugel?

A matzo farfel kugel, like a noodle (lokshen) kugel can be savory or sweet. This post explores a sweet version using apples, raisins, cinnamon and nuts. Matzo farfel is just matzo broken up into small pieces. For years, I purchased packages of matzo farfel in the Kosher for Passover section of my local grocery stores. When I started researching how to make a matzo farfel kugel, I realized all I needed to do was roll over some boards of matzo with a rolling pin, and voila – I had matzo farfel!

How do you Make Matzo Farfel Kugel?

When I offered to bring kugel to the first night seder, the traditional meal eaten on the first two nights of Passover, I realized I didn’t have a tried-and-true recipe for a matzo farfel kugel. So I started searching my Jewish cookbooks, the Internet, and my recipe files. And into the kitchen I went for some testing.

Matzo Farfel Kugel - matzo vs matzo farfel on white plate

Matzo easily becomes matzo farfel!

Sweet or Savory? Matzo or Potato?

My daughter requested a sweet kugel, rather than a savory one, which is how I chose the matzo farfel route over potato. Apples, raisins, cinnamon, and sugar are natural accompaniments in a matzo or noodle-based kugel. I turned to my well-used copy of The Jewish American Kitchen by Raymond Sokolov for one recipe and then found an interesting apricot-based recipe on the website BakeSpace that used apricot instead of apple.

How Important is the Moisture in a Matzo Farfel Kugel?

I halved both recipes and prepared each one. I had high hopes for the apricot version but was very concerned by the lack of moisture in the mixture. I should have followed my instincts and added more liquid and egg. The flavor was a hit with my kids but not the texture — it was dense as a brick. On the Passover table – it is the charoset (a fruit and nut mixture) that is supposed to represent the mortar used to make bricks, not the kugel!!

Moisture is especially important in a farfel kugel since matzo doesn’t give off any moisture as a potato does or noodle might. Nor does it have any natural starch residue to hold the kugel together, so don’t arbitrarily reduce the eggs – they are needed in this recipe as glue and moisture. See my other matzo farfel recipe (link) for ideas about how to make a kugel with less eggs.

Matzo farfel kugel in round pan - shot is straight down

Matzo farfel kugel with apples ready for the oven.

The Winning Matzo Farfel Kugel is…

The apple kugel from The Jewish-American Kitchen (by Raymond Sokolov) was the clear winner. Several elements of the recipe stood out to me.

  • Layers of apples on the bottom and top lighten it up and provide a nice textural balance to the crunchy farfel.
  • The farfel is initially coated with egg and browned in a sauté pan – a nice extra step that could be enhanced further with some flavoring at this stage.
  • I was also intrigued by the nut topping which I enhanced by toasting the nuts first.
Matzo Farfel Kugel pie shaped slice on white plate looking straight down

Since I baked the kugel in the round, I sliced it like a pie.

Tips to help you make Matzo Farfel Kugel:

  1. I added cinnamon, which the recipe didn’t call for and my son suggested a hint of nutmeg would be nice too. If each element – the apples, the farfel, and the nut topping – is flavored on their own before combining, the kugel really shines.
  2. Adding 1/2 – 1 cup of raisins and/or dried apricots to the farfel mixture is another way to add flavor, texture, and moisture. Cover the raisins (and apricots) with hot water or some orange juice or sweet red kosher wine – just enough to cover them to help soften them up. Then let them cool and add the liquid and raisins to the farfel mixture. This liquid can replace part of the water called for in the recipe.
  3. I use real butter when I make kugels because I don’t keep kosher and will mix meat and dairy. But if you are keeping kosher, the recipe does call for margarine, not butter and you should substitute accordingly.
  4. Don’t buy matzo farfel in a box. It couldn’t be easier to crush up yourself and it will be much cheaper and fresher. Just put the boards in a plastic bag or between some parchment paper and roll over them with a rolling pin. I found that two standard size matzo boards equal about one cup of matzo farfel.

 

Supplies for Making Matzo Farfel Kugel


More Passover Recipe Inspiration:

Check out my Recipe and Resource Guide for Passover for more seder menu ideas.

The Everything Matzo Page

Apricot Apple Matzo Farfel Kugel 

Passover Potato Kugel with a Twist

Matzo Meal Pancake (also called a Bubula or Chremslach)

Instant Pot Brisket

Brisket with Tzimmes

Dairy Free Chocolate Truffles

Matzo Ball Soup (coming soon)

Recipes on other blogs:

Kosher in the Kitch’s Macaroon Chocolate Bark for Passover

WhatJewWannaEat’s Ashkenazic style charoset

Blue Kale Road’s Sephardic charoset

West of the Loop’s Dairy Free and Nut Free Passover Apple Cake

Fearless Dining’s Gluten Free Passover Apple Cake

And if you have any beloved favorites that always find their way to your Passover table, please share them in the comments below! Chag Sameach and Happy Easter!

This post contains Amazon affiliate links – if you click on one and purchase something, I receive a very tiny percentage of the sale. Your price is never affected. This income helps to offset the cost of maintaining OMG! Yummy. 

Also check out my Amazon shop that includes some of my favorite food and food-related products. I am always updating it – please visit often. And let me know if you need specific product recommendations – I am happy to help!

matzo farfel kugel
4.13 from 16 votes
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Apple Matzo Farfel Kugel

A traditional kugel recipe for Passover where the matzo farfel (small pieces of matzo) stand in for the usual noodles. The key is enough liquid to offset the delicious but dry matzo farfel.
Course Passover Side Dish, Side Dish
Cuisine Jewish Holiday Cooking
Keyword kugel, matzo farfel, Passover
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Servings 8 servings
Calories 341 kcal
Author Beth Lee

Ingredients

  • 2 cups matzo farfel about 4 boards of matzo
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted margarine or butter melted and cooled
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 3 medium or 2 large apples peeled, cored, and sliced
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup toasted ground walnuts or pecans
  • 1/2 cup raisins or dried apricots optional

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and grease an 8 X 8 baking dish or pie pan equivalent to a 1 quart pan.
  2. Instead of buying pre-made farfel, simply place a few boards in a ziploc bag and use your rolling pin to break them up into little pieces. 2 boards will yield 1 cup of farfel.
  3. Mix the farfel with 2 of the eggs and a teaspoon of the salt and then toast the mixture over low heat in a heavy skillet, mixing frequently to be sure the pieces brown and separate. I found medium low heat worked better than low. Set the pieces aside while you:
  4. In a medium bowl, beat the remaining 2 eggs with the sugar, 1 teaspoon of salt, 1 teaspoon of cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon of nutmeg, and 3 tablespoons of the melted and cooled butter or margarine. Add in the toasted farfel mixture and 1/2 cup of water.
  5. In your greased baking dish, layer 1/2 the apple slices and sprinkle them with the lemon juice and a dusting of cinnamon, then add the matzo farfel mixture and then top with the remaining apples. Then sprinkle with the toasted ground nuts and dust it with a bit more cinnamon and pour over the remaining melted butter or margarine.
  6. Bake for approximately 30 minutes.

Recipe Notes

Adapted from a recipe in The Jewish American Kitchen

 

 

 

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40 Responses to A Brick by Any Other Name — Mastering Matzo Farfel Kugel for Passover

  1. cindy April 19, 2019 at 2:48 pm #


    I followed the recipe to a T and didn’t use more salt or salted butter…insanely salty recipe. I don’t get it. I had to throw it away 🙁 I can’t possibly serve this at my seder. Don’t know what happened but I am curious what others thought.

    • Beth Lee April 19, 2019 at 6:48 pm #

      Hi Cindy, thanks for sharing your experience. What kind of salt did you use?

      • Cindy April 20, 2019 at 6:12 am #

        Regular table salt. The kind with the girl with the umbrella.

      • Cindy April 20, 2019 at 6:20 am #

        I see your recipe says kosher salt but the conversion is actually more kosher salt. Meaning 1tsp kosher = 1.25 tsp kosher. It just shouldn’t have been salty. I noticed it was too salty when I tasted the toasted matzo and egg mix.

        • Cindy April 20, 2019 at 6:23 am #

          Nvm…. I found this. I was rushing a bit and missed the kosher salt. I usually make the opposite error and use kosher when I need table. Oops.

          “You can substitute table salt at any time, but if you do, you should use half as much, since table salt can fit much more densely into your measuring cup (or spoon, or whatever). That’s just the beginning, too—table salt has a few other advantages, and you’ve probably even seen sea salt called for in recipes.Mar 19, 2013”

          • Beth Lee April 20, 2019 at 12:51 pm #

            Hi Cindy – thx for getting back to me. Yes Morton’s is “saltier”. It really matters to me that my recipes work for my readers. I’ve been using kosher salt for so long that I am going to check all of my posts to make sure I have explicitly specified it. I hope your Seder was wonderful minus the farfel kugel . Chag sameach. All the best – Beth

  2. Margie April 1, 2019 at 10:22 am #

    The Apple Matzo Farfel Kugel sounds delicious. Can it be made in advance and frozen or at least made in the morning for that evening? How would I adjust the recipe?

    • Beth Lee April 1, 2019 at 10:26 am #

      Definitely made in the morning for the evening – no problem at all. Even day before. Either store in fridge uncooked or cook and then reheat. I haven’t personally frozen one but honestly can’t see why that wouldn’t work. I think the important thing is that you give it time to thaw and give it a good reheat in the oven to crisp it back up. They are easy to make but take a few steps to become really yummy and flavorful so I am all for spreading out the work for any big event!

  3. Toni | Boulder Locavore March 28, 2019 at 10:25 pm #


    This looks perfect! Will definitely give it a try!

    • Beth Lee April 1, 2019 at 10:24 am #

      Totally comfort food – always wonder why I only make it for Passover.

  4. Lindsay Cotter March 26, 2019 at 6:22 pm #


    Looks so delicious! A wonderful addition to the holiday menu!

    • Beth Lee March 27, 2019 at 8:15 am #

      It’s a favorite at our family seder for sure!

  5. Laura March 25, 2019 at 10:33 am #


    This kugel sounds incredible. I’m only part Jewish so you really helped explain everything for a newbie like me. Can’t wait to try it!

    • Beth Lee March 27, 2019 at 8:15 am #

      You’ll just be a kugel maven before you know it!

  6. Brandi March 24, 2019 at 11:45 pm #


    Tried this recipe last year and really enjoyed it . Going to cook it again this time !

    • Beth Lee March 27, 2019 at 8:14 am #

      Wonderful – so glad to hear it’s a keeper!

  7. Samantha March 24, 2019 at 9:36 pm #


    Thanks for all of the detailed tips and information to ensure success! Such a yummy and special recipe. 🙂

    • Beth Lee March 24, 2019 at 9:53 pm #

      Comforting, simple, traditional, and yummy!

  8. Jenni March 24, 2019 at 7:40 pm #


    Totally the best name ever! And I had no idea what farfel is before, and now I do! Thanks for the excellent post, Beth!

    • Beth Lee March 24, 2019 at 9:52 pm #

      Feeling a butterscotch matzo dessert idea starting to form …

  9. Sandi March 24, 2019 at 7:24 pm #


    What a delicious idea for Passover. I am one of the crazy ones who loves Matzo all year long :-).

    • Beth Lee March 24, 2019 at 9:51 pm #

      You and my mom Sandi! She likes it with lots of whipped butter on it 🙂

  10. Marcie Murray March 24, 2019 at 5:34 pm #

    Do you have a recipe for a savory farfel kugel?

    • Beth Lee March 24, 2019 at 6:39 pm #

      Hi Marcie, so here’s what I would do. And when I have time, I’ll make it official and add it to my blog. Use similar proportions to this sweet recipe – 2 cups farfel and 4 eggs. Dice an onion and saute it in schmaltz, margarine, butter, or olive oil – your choice until soft and just starting to get color. At this stage, I would add some flavor to the onions — salt and pepper, maybe some dried thyme or if you have it – za’atar. While the onion is cooking, soak the farfel in some hot water for a couple of minutes to soften it up and drain it well. Beat the 4 eggs. Combine the cooked onions, eggs, and farfel. Here I would add more salt and pepper and more thyme or za’atar if you are using it. Totally optional. Personally, I would also chop up about a 1/3 cup of parsley and add it as well to give it some color. Put the mixture in a square baking dish that has been greased with your choice of fat. Bake at about 350 for 30 – 40 minutes. I am referring to resources to come up with this method but I haven’t tried it myself — yet. I think it would be delicious. You could probably add some sauteed mushrooms too if you have mushroom lovers at the table. Write to me anytime with questions! Hope this helps.

  11. Laura @MotherWouldKnow April 1, 2015 at 9:51 am #

    Beth, I love your advice about the various kugel experiments. We have guests at our seder who keep kosher (at least to the extent of not eating dairy at a meat meal), so I can’t use butter – boo hoo. My kugel or matzo pudding as my mom used to call it, is infinitely better with butter. And I’m totally with you on making farfel instead of buying it.

  12. wendy March 31, 2015 at 3:03 pm #

    thanks for the recipe – I’m going to try it – just wondering about the apples, are macintosh ok, and do you slice them or shred them?

    thanks!
    chag sameach

    • Beth Lee March 31, 2015 at 8:59 pm #

      Hopefully you received my email but I’ll post my answer here as well!

      For this recipe I slice them and you get a layer of apples which is nice contrast to the matzo farfel but I bet it would be yummy shredded and mixed in as well.

      Macintosh should work – or even crispier apples but I do love the flavor of Macintosh. A flavor memory from my childhood back east!

      Let me know how it comes out and if you have any more questions.

      Chag Sameach!

  13. phyllis wine March 30, 2015 at 11:57 am #


    LOVED THE KUGEL RECIPE. LOVE YOUR SITE. WILL SEND YOU A SWEET FRUIT KUGEL RECIPE THAT I FOUND 40 YEARS AGO IN GOOD HOUSEKEEPING. IT IS A DAIRY KUGEL SO IT IS NOT KOSHER FOR A MEAT DINNER IF YOUR STRICKLY KOSHER BUT IT IS DELICIOUS. THE RECIPE REALLY DOESN’T LIST ALL THE INGREDIENTS SO YOU HAVE TO READ THE ENTIRE RECIPE. I AM SO HAPPY I FOUND YOUR WEBSITE. PHYLLIS WINE IN PALM DESERT CA.

    • Beth Lee March 31, 2015 at 10:38 am #

      I am so happy you found my website too! Please please do send me the 40 year old recipe from Good Housekeeping – I would LOVE to see it. If email is easier, please send it to beth at omgyummy dot com. What else are you making for Passover?

  14. sue March 28, 2015 at 5:24 am #

    What is you want to use a 9 x 13 pan? Would you double the recipe or will that be too thick?

    • Beth Lee March 28, 2015 at 7:52 am #

      Hi Sue, I think I would do 1.5 times the recipe BUT if you double it and it’s too much, you can always overflow into another small pan if you have one. Also, thicker is ok as long as you adjust the cooking time accordingly (thicker = a bit longer to cook). Also depends on how you like your kugel – a bit thicker might result with a more soft pudding like interior to bite into (just guessing on this). I know our family always tends to eat too much – I’m usually ready to stop after the matzo ball soup so forcing serving pieces to be smaller/thinner works for me but improvising here is ok. The key is to keep the flavorings, fruit, and liquid ratio high enough to keep up with the dry matzo! Good luck and let me know what you decide to do. Also feel free to come back with more questions. Chag Sameach.

  15. @yumivore April 2, 2013 at 9:00 pm #

    Even though the holiday has passed, I’d still love a bite of that kugel, it looks delicious! Hope you had a fantastic and delicious holiday Beth. Lovely links for inspiration and a recipe to try next year!

  16. Renee March 25, 2013 at 7:32 am #

    Sounds Yummy, Beth. I make one I found years ago on Epicurious.com. It doesn’t have nuts, but has lots of dried apricots and raisins. The boys eat it every morning for breakfast so I always have to make 2 to carry us through Passover.

    • Beth Lee March 25, 2013 at 8:03 am #

      Sounds terrific Renee – I’m going to check my inbox now for that link!

  17. Hannah March 24, 2013 at 5:22 pm #

    Thank you for sharing my haroset, too! I’m checking out the other links, as well – always fun to get some new inspiration! 🙂

  18. Hannah March 24, 2013 at 5:16 pm #

    Mmm, Beth, this apple kugel sounds divine! I definitely want to try this method of cooking the farfel with egg first. I appreciate you doing some kugel recipe testing for all of us! Your photo is very tempting, too. One of our favorite weeknight dinners during Passover is farfel and cheese (a riff on mac and cheese from a Joan Nathan book). I hope all your preparation is going well – everyone will be very fortunate to enjoy your creative cooking! Chag sameach! xx

    • Beth Lee March 25, 2013 at 8:03 am #

      I am taking many shortcuts this year but always try to put a little extra effort into a couple of things to keep the yum factor high 🙂 Hmmm – farfel and cheese – do tell the secret please!

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